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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 02 Oct, 2020 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew wrote:
I happen to have worn and fenced in one of Jess Finley's personal reproductions of the Lubeck jack (we're the same size and I was visiting last year). It's sturdy for sure, but you can still feel blunt force impacts through it.

The Lübeck jack and others like it were designed to be worn over a haubergeon, not by themselves. Standalone jacks were significantly thicker, heavier, and more rigid. There is not much point testing the damage resistance of jacks like the Lübeck example without the mail.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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T. Kew




Location: London, UK
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PostPosted: Sat 03 Oct, 2020 9:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:

The Lübeck jack and others like it were designed to be worn over a haubergeon, not by themselves. Standalone jacks were significantly thicker, heavier, and more rigid. There is not much point testing the damage resistance of jacks like the Lübeck example without the mail.


Conveniently, I wore it with her full harness, including significant mail and a breastplate.

HEMA fencer and coach, New Cross Historical Fencing
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Alexander H.




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Sat 03 Oct, 2020 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm glad to see that my question has generated a decent conversation. Objectively, I realize that a gambeson should be able to provide good defence against blunt trauma but I still can't get wrap my head around the idea of a gambeson being able to prevent a man's rib cage from being smashed apart by a mace.

I am guessing it would difficult to shoot a video that tests blunt weapons vs fabric armors, since any damage it would cause to any test dummy/animal carcass would be hard to see.

Maybe some brave soul with a gambeson could wear a gambeson and have somebody punch him a bunch of times and sees if the armor completetly negates the impact of the blows or if there is still a little bit of some oomph even with the armor on.
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Andrew Gill





Joined: 19 Feb 2015

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PostPosted: Fri 09 Oct, 2020 4:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexander, in general I think that maces are not as heavy as you might expect or at least, less than I used to think before I started doing serious research into arms and armour. Others can correct me if necessary, but I seem to recall a head mass of around 500g was not uncommon (a little over a pound in imperial measurements). That's about equivalent to the head of a decent-sized claw-hammer in the household toolbox.

Now if someone swings a pollaxe, holy water sprinkler, pole flail or some other scary impact-oriented polearm at you, it probably won't be much fun for you, whatever sort of armour you are wearing, be it textile or mail or steel plate. That's probably one of the reasons why these weapons were used. But even so, the armour will still give you a much better chance of surviving than the absence of armour. Though you don't have to kill or wound the person in armour to render them (temporarily) ineffective. If you can knock them off their feet, they're potentially vulnerable until they get back up - blunt trauma isn't always the only concern...

Rather than the experiment that you proposed, perhaps look at information on the way the body responds to blunt force trauma during sporting accidents, violent assaults or motor accidents, and how different forms of clothing or protection mitigate it. Unfortunately there is a lot of such data available, (which can be read without the danger of physical testing), while a single test yielding a highly subjective result is not conclusive proof.

Juts a few thoughts

Andrew
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Oct, 2020 10:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My own home-made gambeson is made with several layers of woollen blankets rather than 30 layers of liner. It's about 2-3 cm thick and gives more than enough protection against sticks / wasters / blunt swords. No idea about maces, never tried that... Also never tried with slings, but I think it could do pretty well against that.

Logically it makes sense that a dense, soft-ish textile will be good at dissipating blunt impact. It also makes sense that there is an end to the effectiveness: if you get hit by a bus then a gambeson will probably not save you.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Oct, 2020 3:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexander H. wrote:
Maybe some brave soul with a gambeson could wear a gambeson and have somebody punch him a bunch of times and sees if the armor completetly negates the impact of the blows or if there is still a little bit of some oomph even with the armor on.

I've worn a mail hauberk over a simple sweater and been hit multiple times in the ribs with a baseball bat hard enough to knock me off balance. The only injuries I suffered was bruising. If a light jack, like the Lubeck example, was worn over the top then even those bruises would have been mitigated. With a heavier jack, there would be no need for mail at all.

We have a century of studies involving ballistics and blunt trauma. The energy required to cause severe blunt trauma injuries through armour can only be derived from firearms. Even a pistol delivers ten times the energy that the heaviest muscle-powered weapon can deliver.

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Martin Kallander




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Oct, 2020 3:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Please film that, I want to believe it because you are quite reliable, but maille protecting you that much is so beyond everything I've ever read, seen heard and experienced that I need to see it to believe it.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Oct, 2020 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Kallander wrote:
Please film that, I want to believe it because you are quite reliable, but maille protecting you that much is so beyond everything I've ever read, seen heard and experienced that I need to see it to believe it.

It won't happen now. I'm in my fifties and my bones are more brittle than they were thirty years ago. I suspect that the same experiment today would crack a rib or two. However, I've fought with cracked ribs before; it is painful, but not debilitating. It is definitely not an injury that would take someone out of a battle.

Mail was the preferred type of armour in almost every metal using culture on the planet for over a thousand years. Why would you think it didn't protect?

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Martin Kallander




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Oct, 2020 11:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it protects you, just not that mail alone would stop a bat from breaking a few ribs.
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Joe Maccarrone




Location: Burien, WA USA
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Oct, 2020 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The energy required to cause severe blunt trauma injuries through armour can only be derived from firearms. Even a pistol delivers ten times the energy that the heaviest muscle-powered weapon can deliver.


Firearms do not cause severe blunt trauma injuries at all through modern ballistic armor -- a nasty bruise, sure, but nothing disabling or life-threatening.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Fri 16 Oct, 2020 2:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Isn't blunt trauma largely a question of pressure and area with energy being a relatively poor measure of things?

I mean a couched lance blow delivered from someone riding bareback has the same energy as a decent weight arrow fired from a heavy weight warbow but the lance sure has more momentum which means the lance can throw someone from his horse while the arrow won't. Force is also still applied by the wielder during impact whereas a projectile will start to loose energy the moment it impacts anything.

Pressure, area, speed, energy, momentum and impact duration are all variables which tell us something about an impact.

These days quite a bit of research has gone into boxing gloves and their relation to brain injury. Small gloves, large gloves, heavy gloves, light gloves, headguard, no headguard and yet we're still not entirely sure what increases or decreases the risk of concussions.

PS,

before we continue it might be well served by defining what we mean by blunt trauma. Are we talking about soft tissue damage, organ damage (spleen, liver, brain, kidney) or fractured bones?
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Henry O.





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PostPosted: Fri 16 Oct, 2020 12:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Maccarrone wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
The energy required to cause severe blunt trauma injuries through armour can only be derived from firearms. Even a pistol delivers ten times the energy that the heaviest muscle-powered weapon can deliver.


Firearms do not cause severe blunt trauma injuries at all through modern ballistic armor -- a nasty bruise, sure, but nothing disabling or life-threatening.


I think that's mostly because modern ballistic armor doesn't get certified unless it's proven that it can prevent severe blunt trauma injuries from the bullet's impact as well.
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Alexander H.




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Oct, 2020 11:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was scrolling through youtube and recalled that Thegnthrand actually did a video on the topic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssf2nSjzKBU&ab_channel=ThegnThrand

Thoughts?

In addition, peto horse armor can provide further insight on this topic.

For the record, I don't condone bullfighting, I think it is an awful sport but one thing that fascinates me is the padded armor the horses wear. In the past, horses that were used in bull fighting apparently died as often as bulls did. It wasn't unti the introduction of peto armor that horse casualties went down. The peto armor apparently provides great protection to the horse, though it should be noted that bulls often have their horns shaved down to reduce injuries and there are times when a bull is able to knock a horse over and gore its underprotected underside.
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Yesterday at 9:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
I mean a couched lance blow delivered from someone riding bareback


Off topic, but isn't the couched lance techique a result of saddles and stirrups?
I thought that cavalry used overhand spear techniques when bareback...
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Yesterday at 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
Pieter B. wrote:
I mean a couched lance blow delivered from someone riding bareback


Off topic, but isn't the couched lance techique a result of saddles and stirrups?
I thought that cavalry used overhand spear techniques when bareback...

The stirrup was developed to let horse archers stand in the saddle. It does nothing for couched lance warfare. Couched lance warfare was first developed in the 6th C BC by either the Scythians or the Massagetae, a thousand years before the stirrup was invented. It is likely that it took off after the development of the war saddle, not the stirrup. Classicalfencing.com used to have a very good article by Richard Alvarez demonstrating that couched lance warfare was perfectly possible while riding bareback.

Alvarez, Richard P. "Saddle, Lance and Stirrup." Classical Fencing. In Ferro Veritas, Inc., 2000.

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Ulf Lidsman




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PostPosted: Yesterday at 12:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have done a lot of sparring doing HEMA where I have been hit with intent by opponents using blunt longswords, arming swords and sabers (sabers hitting the hardest in my opinion. I usually use my SPES officers jacket and that is considered a very light jacket for HEMA. I have also experienced hits in a SPES AP-jacket which have more protection. I have not yet received a hit that put me out of action but I have got a fair share of bruises. Many of my friends doing HEMA share this experience.

In my opinion both my jackets, and probably every jacket designed for HEMA, are lighter or at least not more padded than a historical jack och gambeson where, at least to my understanding.

My conclusion is that is safe to say that a padded jack or gambeson without any other armor gave a fair amount of protection against the blunt force of any sword or club. I can't really say how much more force a war-hammer or a halberd would have had but probably a lot more.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Today at 3:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
Pieter B. wrote:
I mean a couched lance blow delivered from someone riding bareback


Off topic, but isn't the couched lance techique a result of saddles and stirrups?
I thought that cavalry used overhand spear techniques when bareback...


Seconding the article Dan mentioned.

Tobias Capwell and Alan Williams also did an experiment to figure out how various saddles affect the impact. It is a wonderful read and short read. The result show that using a couched lance without a saddle is perfectly possible albeit less powerful.

https://www.academia.edu/33789994/AN_EXPERIMENTAL_INVESTIGATION_OF_LATE_MEDIEVAL_COMBAT_WITH_THE_COUCHED_LANCE
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